Following the uproar at JNU, the Progressive Students’ Forum (PSF) at TISS Mumbai announced preparations for screening the BBC documentary India: The Modi Question on campus. A students’ group from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) planned to broadcast the BBC documentary on Modi focusing on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, following in the footsteps of other youth organisations around the country.
Ministry of External Affairs verdict on BBC Documentary on Modi
The government asked social media giants Twitter and YouTube to ban links to the BBC Documentary on Modi, which claims to have researched some parts of the 2002 Gujarat riots when PM Modi was the state’s chief minister. The Ministry of External Affairs has slammed the documentary as a “propaganda work” that lacks objectivity and exhibits a colonial attitude. Opposition parties, on the other hand, have described the government’s move to limit access to the documentary as censorship.
Has This Been Done in the Past?
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, with the aid of the emergency powers under the IT Rules 2021, is allowed to ban social media posts that are capable of disrupting peace and harmony in India. In August 2022, the Indian Government had banned 8 YouTube based news channels, one Facebook channel and two Facebook posts for allegedly spreading hatred among religious communities in India. The ministry says that fake anti-India content was being monetized by the blocked channels on YouTube.
Is the screening a symbolic protest against the government?
The screening, according to TISS Mumbai’s Progressive Students’ Forum (PSF), was a symbolic protest against the government’s decision.This is to restrict access to the controversial documentary and a show of unity with student organisations on other college campuses. “In solidarity with JNU students and opposition to the central government’s authoritarian and sectarian restrictions, PSF invites all TISS students to join the mass viewing of the BBC documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ on 28 January (sic),” the PSF stated in a tweet. According to a TISS representative, the administration still needs to provide clearance for the screening.
Students’ reports against the management
This comes a day after mayhem erupted on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus following a screening of the BBC documentary “India: The Modi Question” by the students’ union. Several students reported that the university management disconnected electricity and internet to disrupt the event, and they organised a protest after being pelted with stones. Some have claimed that the assailants were Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members, which the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated student group has rejected.
In defiance of the official injunction, student organisations and youth wings of opposition parties announced plans to exhibit the documentary on college campuses around the country.
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